This Saturday night at the 1STBANK Center in Denver, Colorado, boxing fans witnessed a great show of guts, determination and incredible stamina in the HBO championship boxing main event, Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Provodnikov. Going into the bout, both fighters had a lot of questions surrounding them as they were coming off intense ring battles that saw each man pushed to the limit and coming up with differing results.
Ruslan Provodnikov was 7 months removed from a back and fourth encounter against Timothy Bradley in which Ruslan was only seconds short of a final round knockout upset. Mike Alvarado himself was coming off a bout in which he over came the odds and avenged the only loss of his pro career, taking the WBO light welterweight championship in the process.
The fight started hard and heavy, as Ruslan Provodnikov was landing hard shots from the opening bell, and hurt Alvarado on several occasions in round one. It looked like Mike was in trouble but he managed to change the pace of the fight and had some success of his own in the next rounds. Similar to Alvarado’s last fight with Brandon Rios, he did not stand in front of Provodnikov but instead used lateral movement and kept the fight at a range in which he could avoid the power punches of Ruslan and get some of his own shots off.
Alvarado used his jab to keep Provodnikov away and although both fighters were landing shots to the head and to the body, Alvarado was the fighter in command. Alvarado’s downfall started in the 8th round as he took a series of flush shots which put him on the canvas not once, but twice. Alvarado barely escaped the round and looked very hurt walking over to his corner.
The big question coming into the next round was, how much energy would Provodnikov have left after throwing a barrage of power shots in the previous round? It was apparent that unlike his previous fight with Tim Bradley, this time he was in outstanding condition. Ruslan came in and outworked Mike Alvarado in round 9 and in round 10 he battered him some more and forced Mike’s corner to stop the fight after the end of the 10th round. Ruslan Provodnikov was crowned the new WBO light welterweight champion.
Now the question is where both men go from here. Provodnikov improved to 23-2 (16 ko’s) with this win and showed impressive stamina, improved technique and with his fan friendly style, he lived up to his nickname of “The Siberian Rocky.“ The improvement under Freddie Roach is quiet evident, and with this victory he’s set a winning streak with the Wildcard gym. Moving forward, the logical fight would be a rematch with Timothy Bradley, as the first bout is a leading candidate for fight of the year and a second bout would be a match up that most boxing fans would be eagerly awaiting.
As for Mike Alvarado he falls to 34-2, and the path he goes will be interesting because he is now coming off 2 straight grueling bouts, and one would think he might want to take a softer touch in his return, as there are only so many ring wars a fighter can take.
The bout between Provodnikov and Alvarado was not the all out war boxing fans expected, but it still did provide fireworks and had what boxing needs most, and that was a definitive result, and one that certainly excited the fans.